Chafen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The Chafen name was originally an Anglo-Saxon name that was given to a person who made baskets. The surname Chafen is derived from the Old French words cofin and coffin, which in turn come from the Late Latin word cophinus, which means basket. Occupational names such as this one frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. The English word coffin is a specialized development of this word which did not exist before the 16th century. The surname Chafen may also be a nickname derived from the Latin word calvus, which means bald.
Early Origins of the Chafen family
The surname Chafen was first found in Devon at Alwington, a parish, in the union of Bideford, hundred of Shebbear, Great Torrington. "In the church [of Alwington], over the door of the chancel, is a curious ancient monument to a member of the Coffin family." 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has a range of spellings for the family: Richard Chaufin, Nottinghamshire; Robert Coffyn, Lincolnshire; and William Coffyn, Devon. 
Important Dates for the Chafen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chafen research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1571, 1626, 1571, 1585, 1588, 1592, 1593, 1594, 1597 and 1598 are included under the topic Early Chafen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chafen Spelling Variations
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Chafen has undergone many spelling variations, including Coffin, Coffyn, Colvin, Caffin, Caffyn, Chafen, Chaffine and many more.
Early Notables of the Chafen family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Edward Coffin alias Hatton (1571-1626), English Jesuit, born at Exeter in 1571, and arrived at the English college at Rheims on 19 July 1585. On 26 July 1588 he entered...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chafen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chafen family
To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Chafen were among those contributors: Francis Coffin who settled in Virginia in 1635.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)